Call for Expressions of Interest: H2020 Opportunity - "Accelerating Deep Diffusion of Digital Security Solutions in SMEs"

Dear all - after some exploring on open calls that interest me professionally I have identified this potential opportunity for us - some first details follow and please remember that if you have a specific area of passion and would like support in identifying/answering a relevant call do let me know. Proposal submission is 27 August 2020 and we will customize our Knowledge Alliance Proposal to the specific all requirements (see this

If you are interested in participating please reach to me and reserve your slot in the Consortium by Friday 29 May 2020. More details on the exact approach and administrative points will be issued over the next few weeks.

Please note that this call also aligns with our Academy specialization course "S-8: Cybersecurity for Products and Services: Using the generic narrative for the diffusion of innovation and based upon an industry case study this course aims to introduce participants to the specific nature of innovation diffusion from ideation to market saturation for cybersecurity solutions for products and services in high value manufacturing and their (extended) ecosystems." See and the ECARDINALE proposal suppporting this (

Our emphasis will be on accelerating the "deep" diffusion of Digital Security solutons within EU based high value manufacturing enterprises and their extended (global) supply chains. We are introducing the term "deep" to signal that our efforts aim to help accelerate diffusion to late adopters (and not just innovators). The maximum funding amount is €4m (funding rate: 70% (except for non-profit legal entities, where a rate of 100% applies - assume this is based on unit cost like the Knowledge Alliance proposal) and we will design for a three year project. We are essentially rewriting our Knowledge Alliance proposal (see to focus specifically on digital security solutions (although the "career framework" emphasis will change towards identifying simple actionable interventions based on the simulation we are developing (see 

We will address the specific challenge raised in the call: "Most Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Micro Enterprises (SMEs&MEs) lack sufficient awareness and can only allocate limited resources - both technical and human - to counter cyber risks, hence they are an easier target (e.g. of ransomware attacks) compared to large organizations. Security professionals and experts working for SMEs&MEs need to be in a constant learning process since cybersecurity is a significantly complex and fast-evolving field. Taking into account the significant economic role of SMEs&MEs in the EU, tailored research to innovation should support cybersecurity for SMEs&MEs."

We will adress sub-topic (b) "Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Micro Enterprises (SMEs&MEs): defenders of security, privacy and personal data protection". 

We will deliver an innovative solution to "increase the knowledge sharing in digital security across SMEs&MEs and between SMEs&MEs and larger providers. The user SMEs&MEs will be supported by democratizing access to tools and solutions of varied sophistication level, to allow SMEs&MEs benefitting from innovative targeted solutions addressing their specific needs and available resources (currently reserved to larger organisations, due to their cost and availability of internal expertise)."

Furthermore the proposal will "develop targeted, user-friendly and cost-effective solutions enabling SMEs&MEs to: (1) dynamically monitor, forecast and assess their security, privacy and personal data protection risks[5]; (2) become more aware of vulnerabilities, attacks and risks that influence their business; (3) manage and forecast their security, privacy and personal data protection risks in an easy and affordable way; (4) build on-line collaboration between SMEs&MEs associations and with CERTs/CSIRTs, enabling thus individual SMEs&MEs to report any incident."

In addition the proposal will develop tools and processes "to facilitate the participation of user SMEs&MEs in cyber ranges for cybersecurity." The outcome of the proposal will be a simulation supported method at Technology Readiness level (TRL) 7 ("TRL 7 – system prototype demonstration in operational environment.") implemented as a working pilot in collaboration with our industry partners.

Our Action will thus primarily consist of activities directly aiming at producing a new process aimed at accelerating the deep diffusion of digital security solutions in high value manufacturing SMEs and will include prototyping, testing, demonstrating and piloting of a relevant TRL 7 solution. The pilot aims to validate the technical and economic viability of the process in an operational (or near to operational) environment. The Action will include limited research and development activities.

The expected impact of our efforts will be that:
  • SMEs&MEs are better protected and become active players in the Digital Single Market, including implementation of the NIS directive and the application of the General Data Protection Regulation.
  • Security, privacy and personal data protection are strengthened as shared responsibility along all layers in the digital economy, including citizens and SMEs&MEs.
  • Reduced economic damage caused by harmful cyber-attacks and privacy incidents and data (including personal data) protection breaches.
  • Pave the way for a trustworthy EU digital environment benefitting all economic and social actors.

Cheers and ever onwards!


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